Healthy Diet, Exercise Fight Prostate Cancer

Study is first to show lifestyle changes battle malignancy

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FRIDAY, Aug. 12, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Diet and lifestyle changes may help stop or even reverse progression of early stage prostate cancer, U.S. researchers report.

The study of 93 prostate cancer patients is the first randomized, controlled trial to show that alterations in lifestyle can impact on the progression of any type of cancer.

"This study provides important new information for men with prostate cancer and all men who hope to prevent it. This is the first in a series of trials attempting to better identify the exact role of diet and lifestyle in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer," co-researcher Dr. Peter Carroll, chair of the urology department at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), said in a prepared statement.

The men in the study were divided into two groups. One group made major diet and lifestyle changes that involved switching to a vegan diet consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes supplemented with soy, vitamins and minerals. The men in this group also took part in moderate aerobic exercise, yoga/meditation, and a weekly support group session.

The men in the other group did not make any major diet or lifestyle changes.

After one year, blood levels of the prostate cancer marker prostate specific antigen (PSA) decreased in the men who made the diet and lifestyle changes but increased in the comparison group. The researchers also found that blood from men who made the diet/lifestyle changes inhibited by 70 percent the growth of prostate tumors in the lab. That level of inhibition dropped to just 9 percent for blood from men in the comparison group.

The men in the diet/lifestyle change group also reported marked improvements in their quality of life.

"Changes in diet and lifestyle that we found in earlier research could reverse the progression of coronary heart disease may also affect the progression of prostate cancer as well. These findings suggest that men with prostate cancer who undergo conventional treatments may also benefit from making comprehensive lifestyle changes," added fellow researcher Dr. Dean Ornish, a clinical professor in UCSF's urology department.

The findings appear in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Aug. 11, 2005

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